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How to Winterize Your Garden

 Sadly it is that time of year, time to get your garden ready for winter. Time to get that last harvest out of your vegetable garden and time to get the last cut flowers from your fall flowering perennials and shrubs.

            Now that you have harvested all of your delicious vegetables it is time to pull the plants and stakes out of the ground. Be sure to pick up and throw out any debris so any fungi will not over winter, especially if your tomatoes experienced blight. At this time you may also want to till your garden in preparation for next spring.

            To begin cleaning up your landscape beds, start by cutting back your perennials. It is wise to wait for them to turn brown because the plants are sending all of their remaining nutrients to the roots for the winter. Once your perennials are cut back, rake all leaf debris. Again make sure to throw the leaves away as you do not want to allow any possible fungi to over winter in your beds. Ornamental grasses can either be cut back in the fall or the spring. Leaving the grasses throughout the winter adds some winter interest to your gardens. If needed, apply a layer of mulch to give added insulation to more tender plants. Be sure to apply an anti-desiccant to protect your evergreens. Anti-desiccants help protect your plants from loosing precious water from the wind and the sun.

            Plan in advance to prevent snow damage. Wrapping evergreens in burlap and covering Japanese Maples with wooden structures offer great protection. Heavy snowfall can put a lot of pressure on plants to the point of breaking, so be sure to brush off snow when possible. The burlap will also act as protection from the deer nibbling on their favorite winter snacks.

            Now that the work is done, sit back and enjoy the winter. Start to dream of all the things you plan to do in your garden next year.